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Plant yourself in history

Charlotte loves to go on about its fried chicken, oak-lined streets and gritty race track. But if you're a newcomer looking for a real taste of our small-town roots, there's only one way to go.

Get on your knees and pick some squash.

It's the height of yellow squash season in the South – the first of the summer's big crops – and a perfect time for newcomers to experience the age-old tradition of gleaning a field for leftover vegetables missed during harvest.

It just so happens that the Society of St. Andrew offers one such opportunity Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, at a farm south of Monroe. All volunteers are welcome and all vegetables collected will go straight to the community's needy, via food pantries and soup kitchens.

The goal is 5,000 pounds of squash in three hours, which is a whole lotta yellow.

“It's like an old-fashioned barn raising,” says Marilyn Marks of the Society. “Out in the fields, there is really a sense of a community gathering. And as this city has grown, we've seen more newcomers who want to experience that, particularly families.”

Of course, newcomers present some unique challenges. The society now has to keep a trained supervisor in the field, to show people what the vegetables look like.

“I'm not making fun of anybody, because I'm a city person myself,” Marks says. “But we have people now who have no idea what a turnip green looks like and, if we're not careful, they'll pick weeds instead, which is pretty funny.”

Charlotte loves to go on about its fried chicken, oak-lined streets and gritty race track. But if you're a newcomer looking for a real taste of our small-town roots, there's only one way to go.

Get on your knees and pick some squash.

It's the height of yellow squash season in the South – the first of the summer's big crops – and a perfect time for newcomers to experience the age-old tradition of gleaning a field for leftover vegetables missed during harvest.

It just so happens that the Society of St. Andrew offers one such opportunity Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, at a farm south of Monroe. All volunteers are welcome and all vegetables collected will go straight to the community's needy, via food pantries and soup kitchens.

The goal is 5,000 pounds of squash in three hours, which is a whole lotta yellow.

“It's like an old-fashioned barn raising,” says Marilyn Marks of the Society. “Out in the fields, there is really a sense of a community gathering. And as this city has grown, we've seen more newcomers who want to experience that, particularly families.”

Of course, newcomers present some unique challenges. The society now has to keep a trained supervisor in the field, to show people what the vegetables look like.

“I'm not making fun of anybody, because I'm a city person myself,” Marks says. “But we have people now who have no idea what a turnip green looks like and, if we're not careful, they'll pick weeds instead, which is pretty funny.”

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